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History of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) online

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more. Dr. J. H. ^lontgomery carried oif the prize for eight years under
Pierce and Buchanan, then stepped aside for Seth Lewis, w-ho was ap-
pointed by Lincoln and held the office for five and half years. James
Monroe was appointed by President Johnson, but had hardly warmed
his seat, when at the end of six months, S. S. Lacy came in for two
years. Herbert A. Read was then the incumbent under Grant for five
years, being succeeded by Samuel J. Burpee, who held the office for
ten years. W. R. Lewis was then appointed, holding the office for one
year, and being succeeded by S. S. Lacy, who after five years of service
gave \vay to Stephen F. Snyder, who served four years. Next came
Charles T. Fletcher for a term of four years. Wm. H. Ai'thur was next
appointed and he held the office longer than any predecessor, twelve
years and four months. The present incumbent, J. P. Hughes, took
over the office October 1, 1910.

The following statistics are given through the courtesy of the present
assistant postmaster, L. B. Albaugh, who has been connected with the
post office since 1885. At that time the office was in the second class
with a postal revenue of about $8,000 per annum, the office force con-
sisting of postmaster S. S. Lacy, assistant postmaster J. M. Moses and
two clerks. In 1889 the receipts decreased to below $8,000 and the office
fell back to the third class. It jiunped up to the second class again the
following year and in 1900 it advanced to the first class. In 1898 the
receipts of the office had increased sufficiently to warrant the then
postmaster Arthur in securing free delivery which was inaugurated
with three carriers. Within the next few years the volume of business
assumed such proportions that five more clerks and two city carriers
were added to the force.

The revenue for the past year, ending March 31, 1912. was
$4:9,402.44; number of money order transactions, 10,588. For the first
quarter of 1912 there is shown a marked increase over the preceding

The present office force consists of the postmaster, assistant post-
master, superintendent of mails, seven clerks, five city carriers, eight
rural carriers. su1i carriers, sub clerks and special delivery messenger.


The office is largo mid
volume of business.

/.'// < 1(1-1 ntiU n. S 1,1 nil

When, ill the I'lii'ly part of the nincterutli century, the new west
called upon the east for valiant men and true to eome and take posses-
sion of her forests and beautiful plains, her lakes and rivers, there was
ready and happy response. From his home in central New York in IH'M).
Siduej' Ketchum heard the call and slowly wended his way westward
to the oak openings of central [Michigan, and JMarshall's history was
begun. Following closely, came a goodly company of men and women,
whose ambition, energy and culture were ideal forces in forming an
ideal commonwealth ; among them were Rev. John D. Pierce and (Jen-
eral Isaac E. Crary — men whom not only ilarshall but all Michigan is
proud to honor, the founders and supporters of that ideal system of
education which has given ^Miehigan the proud distinction of being the
"Educating State."

Scarcely had the home been established in the little log cabias of
the new settlers than the thoughts of these pioneers from the east land
turned to the establishment of a school, for they well knew that the youth
of today is the citizen of tomorrow, and that upon the intelligence,
integrity and patriotism of its citizens depends the life of the state.
The first school, of less than a dozen pupils, was held in a little loft for
want of a better place and was presided over by iliss Ann Brown
whom ]\Ir. Sidney Ketchum sent to Ann Arbor to procure — and the
school ma'am became a factor of the village life. In 1832 the pioneer
school house was built, the first in the county, a little frame building
on Mansion street near the Presbyterian church, and school was called
to order by iliss Eliza Ketchum. This building served not alone for a
temple of wisdom, it was then the only church, the town hall, the court
house, in short the general rallying place of all public assemblies, where
equal attention was given to law, politics, religion and letters.

About this period American students began to return from Germany
bringing with them new educational ideas. Cousin's report of the
Prussian school system was published and found its way to this little
Michigan hamlet and to the log cabin home of Rev. John D. Pierce
where General Isaac E. Crary, a graduate of Trinity College and a
warm friend of education, was an honored inmate. Thus two of ]\Iar-
shall's earliest nobilit^'. men of distinguished talents and great force of
character, were brought into close relationship and given a rare op-
portunity to discu.ss the fundamental principles deemed important in
laying the foundations of the state. "Of especial interest to them."
wrote Rev. Pierce in 1875, "and most carefully con.sidered was the im-
portant question of education which should embrace a complete school
system from the lowest grade to the highest — from the primary school
to the university — which, if possible, should be made a distinct liranch
of the government with a special officer who should have the whole mat-


ter in charge, and thus keep its importance before the public mind,"
and that measures to establish and preserve an ample school fund
should be carefully taken.

So we honor that historic day in the summer of 1834 when these
two. Rev Pierce and Gen. Crary, met under the branches of the now
classic oak in the lawn of the Gorham home and with true wisdom, rare
inspiration and judgment, planned the ideal school system which has
placed Michigan in the foremost rank of the educational life of our
country. But they were not content with mere dreams and plans. In
the first convention that met "to clothe our beautiful peninsula with
powers of independent sovereignty," ilr. Crary, as chairman of the
committee on education, aided and advised by liis friend Rev. Pierce,
inti'odueed a resolution which became a law of tlie commonwealth — "a

Old AM) Ni;\v Iluui Scinini.. .Makshaij,

law the most wholesome," it is said, "that at that time had lieeu incor-
porated into the constitution of any state of the Union" — and the
public school of Marshall of 1912 is the outgrowth of their noble work.

On the second day of October, 1837, in the little pioneer schoolhouse,
was held the first annual school meeting under the new law, a record
of which we find preserved in an old volume, yellow and musty with age.
David L. Johns had the honor of presiding. The election of officers for
the ensuing year resulted in the choice of H. P. Wisner, moderator;
Stephen Kimball, assessor and collector, and Ira AVood, director. "After
which it was resolved to raise certain sums of money for certain pur-
poses: — to wit, the sum of ninety dollars for support of a district school,
two hundred dollars for the repair of the school house, for fire wood, etc.,
etc., ten dollars for the purchase of books for the district library."

In quaint, old-fashioned script bearing the date of October 1st, 1841,
we find a record of the books used by the fifty students who attended
school during the school year of three months, — DaboU's Arithmetic,


Smith and KirkhaiiUs Grammar, Olney and Parley's Geograph\-, Par-
ley's First History, Eclectic Reader. Elementary Spelling Book. A lirm
foundation upon which is builded the course of study that now admits
our students upon diploma, not only to the University of Michigan, but
to nearly every college of tlie land. We turn the pages of the old jour-
nal and tind in the records of subsequent meetings name after name of
the pioneers of our city, worthy men and true, who dai-ed to face the
problem of school taxes, rate bills, debts, buildings, etc.. — problems that
never would stay settled even to the present day. All honor to those
worthy sires who even in their earnestness "builded better than they
knew." General Isaac E. Crary, John D. White, D. N. Salter, Joseph
Lord, N. H. Humphrey, Randall Hobert, F. W. Sherman, Geo. Wood-
ruff, 0. C. Comstock. Asa B. Cook. James A. Way, Chas. P. Dibble-
names recorded now in marble in our beautiful Oakridge, but more
enduring in the educational life of our town. In 1850 and later we find
the names of Honorables C. T. Gorham, Hovey K. Clark, J. T. Vernor,
A. 0. Hyde, S. S. Laeey, J. H. Montgomery, Geo. IngersoU, H. A. Noyes,
J. C. Frink and others — all prior to 1863 when our venerable record

In the early days of its history Marshall consisted of two hamlets,
called the upper and lower villages, one at the east chislo'rd aioiind
what was the old Marshall House, and the other at the wis) \\ hose ((iiter
was the present west end park. On September 28, 1847, llie scliodi dis-
tricts Nos. 1 and 2, being in the upper and lower villages, were united,
which union made necessary the erection of another school house to suc-
ceed the second built in 1833-44, a small brick structure known as the
"Long school house" still standing one block east of the Central building.
Now the records show meetings thick and fast, special, general, private,
public, resolutions made, passed, rescinded as the debate waxed warm
upon the site of the new school house, for the rivalry between the various
factions and the two villages still was great. At last notices were posted
in the most public places, of a school meeting to be held in the "Long
school house" on the 15th of March, 1848, to consider three ((uestions:

First. To establish a site for a school house.

Second. To vote a tax for a building, and improving the grounds.

Third. To determine whether a classical department shall be added
to the school.

Think of attacking those Have (|uestions in one meeting. On the
appointed evening the taxable inhabitants assembled. Isaac E. Crary
in the chair.

First. The question of a site was put, and after a long discussion,
arguments pro and con, by a vote of forty-three to twelve, it was decided
that the sqiiare we now occupy be chosen as a suitable place for the
new school temple, and that the district board be authorized to purchase
the same if the same could be had for the sum of five hundred and
twenty-five dollars.

Second. It was resolved that a tax of one thousand dollars be
raised to build the school house and improve the grounds.

Third. That a classical department be added to the school at the
earliest possible moment.


The meeting then adjourned.

Thus it was that in the center of the town, in the midst of a sciuare
of primeval bog unoccupied save by its native amphibians and adorned
only by the rushes and flags bordering its deep ditches, was Ijuilt the
new school house over sixty years ago, E. T. Gregg architect, 0. P.
Austin, Benj. Drake, contractors; contract price, five thousand three
hundred fifty-seven dollars and ninety-one cents. Two stories, rect-
angular in form, two front doors on the ground, long windows and
projecting cornices, with a little belfry from which rang out the sum-
mons to long hard tasks, but without the fountain, trees or flower beds
of the old time township picture. The inside walls of white-washed
brick, softly tinted by smoke, were adorned only by well punched maps
and pencil cartoons, wooden blackboards extended across the front of
the rooms with sheep-skin erasers and lump chalk, long benches around
the sides, double desks with fatiguing stool seats "deep carved with
many initials," and a melodeon to discourse sweet sounds at morning
chapel. This is the picture on memory's walls.

Here, on September 28, 1849, the school was first organized as a
graded or union school under, the law of the preceding ilarch. The
trustees, Honorables I. E. Crary, 0. P. Austin, C. P. Dibble, Ira Woods,
Asa B. Cook, moderator, James A. Way, director, W. R. McCall, assessor.
Thus within twenty years from the time the first pioneers of Marshall
had set up their household gods in the log cabins they rolled up had
their patriotism, ambition and love of knowledge established in their
chosen home that grand institution whose influence should have power
over all the life of the community. Under date of October 13, 1857, we
find the first mention of school classification into primary, secondary,
grammar and high, with report of thirty-three students in the high
school. This classification continuing under various names until recent
years when the division became primary, grammar and high, each con-
sisting of a course of four years. So the early visions of Rev. Pierce
and General Crary were being realized.

Among the teachers whose nolile work was so well done and whose
names were household words over a half century or more ago, we find
those of Mr. Safford, as principal in the old "Long school house"
in the early forty's; Mr. Joseph N. Wescott, a noted instructor from
the east wlio was chosen principal in 1850 and was the first to occupy
that position under the new organization; Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Pierce,
whose drills in language, science and mathematics were indeed master-
pieces; Mr. Tenny and his gifted wife; Mr. Reade ; ponderous J\Ir.
Graves, and in 1861 Mr. W. S. Perry, later a superintendent in Ann
Arbor, and many others equally efficient.

High school life was now tending towards its modern form. It
was a sort of transition period. The thirty-three pupils increased in
number, though still counted with those in the grammar department.
The three R's were still in evidence in the class program, but side by
side with Greek, German and geometry, for a classical depai'tment had
been instituted in 1848. Rhetorieals were held every Friday afternoon,
where orations on Caesar and compositions on Hope delighted the ears
of admiring friends, with an occasional dialogue for variety. Exami-


uations were oral ami pulilic. fveryhody came, a special (■(nuiiiillee
appointed for every class. Think of that, high school studcnis. and in
mid-summer too. After the examinations came the annual exhiiiition,
a program of which, dated August 7, 1857, is still extant. That the
youth of those days were well endowed with literary ahility is showi
conclusively hy the fifty-eight numbers there recorded.

The little people now demanded special attention to their wants
and in 1860. amid the feeling of unrest throughout the nation and the
mutterings of war around the land, three primary buildings were erected
in wards one. two and four at a cost of eight thousand dollars. Sheldon
Smith, architect, E. 0. Crittenton, superintendent of construction.
These artistic two-room Iniildings kno\ra as the "East Ward," "West
Ward" and "Capitol Hill," each with a beautiful spacious play ground,
have been a special ornament to the town for over fifty years, and
with the ""Park" building erected in the third ward in 1872 at a cost
of twelve thousand five hundred dollars, have been the earliest school
homes of Marshall's proud "manor born" citizens — the Mecca of their
childish hopes and among the dearest memories of their childhood's

It is now 1868, and again comes up the old familiar (|uestion of a
new building for the oldci' students, for the life of the town has out-
grown the old prison looking- edifice of 1847. The gentlemen of the
board to whom the impoi'tant undertaking of the erection of the new
building was given were Houorables C. P. Dibble, C. T. Gorham, D.
Darwin Hughes, E. F. Henderson and George Ingersoll, and well they
kept their trust. Mr. Dibble was chosen chairman of the committee
on building, and to the important duties of his position he gave his
valuable time, business sagacity and personal devotion. In return for
his services the board voted him the sum of five hundred dollars which,
with the patriotic generosity of the Dibble spirit he returned to the
district as the "Dibble Prize Fund," the income of which is given to
the school each year to be used in a manner determined by the board,
and to which we owe many of the beautiful pictures which adorn the
walls of the various rooms.

On a memorable day in April, 1870, the new building was dedicated,
a proud day for Marshall, for this new temple, imposing, commodious,
erected at a great expense of nearly seventy thousand dollars, fitted
with every convenience then known to the builder, was the result of the
earnest thought of a people devoted to culture, progress and patriotism.
A briefless .young attorney, whose only alma mater was the Marshall
high school we have described, was chosen to deliver the dedicatory
address, and so masterly was the maiden effort of Mr. T. J. O'Brien
that that day marked the first step in the brilliant career of one of the
most popular lawyers of the state and one of the most successful am-
bassaclors of the United States.

Now that the building was complete, classification of .schools and
course of study determined upon, interest began to center upon develop-
ing special work. The laboratory system of instruction was introduced
in the science department, and new apparatus added to the electrical
machine of old time days and the compound microscope given to the


school by Mr. D. D. Hughes. The library whose nucleus was derived
from the ten dollars voted to the purchase of books in 1837 received
attention, Mr. W. J. Dibble, for years one of the most efficient directors
of the schools, gave proof again of the family interest in the school
and came to its aid, until today the classic lore purchased in 1837 has
grown to three thousand volumes. The library has a room of its own
and is one of the chief factors of the school. In April, 1870, the bell
iirst rang out for school in the new building with Mr. Henry N. French,
superintendent, one of the foremost educators of the state, to whose
twelve years of service so much of the present efficiency of the school
is due.

The preceding year there went out into the world the first formal
graduating class, three young gentlemen well fitted to be the advance
guard of Marshall's graduates, Herbert E. Davis, Henry M. Haskell
and Clarence S. Joy, each choosing for himself one of the learned pro-
fessions in which he has gained deserved success. Each year a new
class has followed them out into the field of life until now over six
hundred students liave taken their diplomas from the Marshall high
school and gone out into the world to do their share of its work. — All over
the bi-oad land and over the seas, into Europe and tlie far east and
the distant islands, have the ^larshall students wended their way.
Many of them have gained an honored name for themselves and their
alma mater. We find them in the pulpit, at the bar, at the teacher's
desk and in the physician's office, in the army and in the navy, in
literary, political and ))usiness life, in the social world and in the home,
and everywhere we are proud of them.

It is 1900, the old century is passing, the new is almost here,
the high school of thirt.y-three students has become nearly two hun-
dred; crowded class rooms, inefficient laboratories and general incon-
venience for pi-operly doing the work now required in the high school
is apparent everywhere, and a demand for a special building is the cry
of its friends. Again the school board is face to face with the old
problem, skillfully they meet it, and the new high school building of
1900 is erected at a cost of twentj'-five thousand dollars. Its spacious
halls, fine assembly and class rooms, well equipped laboratories, manual
training and art rooms, special li])rary with reading tables, where
students come daily for reading and research work, and everywhere
every modern convenience, attest well the patriotism of Marshall's citi-
zens. Manual training classes are now established in every grade and
added to the art department, so our boys and girls go out from the
school with hand and eye as well as brain well trained to do good work
for themselves and for the world. The eoiiuty normal school is made
a part of the system where teachers are prepared for rural school
work. The whole a grand accomplishment of a great design worthy of
its far sighted noble originators and worthy of the true patriotic citi-
zens who gladly support and sustain it.

In 1911, three-quarters of a century after that historic summer day
when Michigan's ideal school system was first formulated under the
branches of one of ilarshall's grand old oaks, a beautiful building was
erected to take the place of the old "East Ward," now inadequate for
school purposes. This new school home, ei-ected at a cost of fifteen



thousand dollars, with every modem convenience and luxury for the
little people, even to inside play rooms for stormy days, artistically
finished and adorned with beautiful pictures, is appropriately dedicated
the "Pierce school" in honor of Rev. John D. Pierce, the "Father of
the Educational System."

Thus Mai-shall proudly does special honor to one of her noble pioneer
citizens whose life and work was an honor to himself, to his chosen
home, and to the world.

The Press of .Marshall

Jill J. M. Moses

The first newspaper published in Calhoun county was the Calhoun
Countij Patriot, issued by Henry C. Bunoe. the first number appearing
October 2, 1836, ^Ir. Bunce being editor and publisher. It was an eight
column folio containing considerable reading matter considering the
size of the place and the methods then in use for collecting news. Mr.
Bunce was acting for a stock company Init later he bought the other
stockholders and became sole proprietor. January 1, 1841, Francis W.
Shearman became associate editor, and the name was changed to The
Di iiiorratic Expounder and Calhoun County Patriot. The motto of the
publisliers as printed under the heading was "War to the Knife and
Knife to the Hilt in Defense of Democratic Principles." Mi-. Bunce
continued as publisher until 1850 when he was succeeded by Chastaiu
JIann and Jabez Fox. Mr. Fox soon after retired and L. G. Noyes
became part owner and editor of the paper. He continued in that ca-
pacity until his death in June, 186-1, from which time Chastain
ilann continued as sole proprietor until his death in the spring of
1873. Francis W. Shearman who had retired as editor when Jlr. Noyes
bought an interest in the paper again assumed editorial coiitiol wlien
.Mr. Noyes passed away and continued in that capacity until the death
of JIi-. ^lann. Mr. Shearman was appointed superintendent of public
instruction in 1849 and was elected to the office in 1851, being the first
man to be chosen by the people to fill that office. He was re-elected in
1853. Upon the death of Chastain ]Mann the paper was purcluised l)y
Samuel S. Lacey, who became editor and proprietor. Mr. Lacey was one
of many Republicans who followed Horace Greeley into the Democratic
party. He conducted the paper along the liberal Republican line, but
after a few years came out as a full fledged Democrat. ]Mr. Lacey con-
tinued as publisher until 1875 when he leased it to Z. H. Dennison. and
later to R. I). Buchanan who continued to run it until October, 1881,
when J. M. ^Moses became publisher, Mr. Lacey continuing as editor with
the different puiilishers. In 1885 Mr. Lacey having been iippoinfed
postmaster .=old the paper to the ClironicJe Publisliing C()iii|i;iiiy. iiiid
the E.rpound(r was consolidated with the Daihi Chroniili. fKuriwhicli
office its publication wms continued until December. 19()!l. when it was
consolidated with the Evening Chronieli .

The Marshall Times was started by .bihii (ircev.-s scun jjftcr tlie
Patriot appeai-ed but the field was liiiiitcil and it did not live long.


The- material used for printing the Times was purchased by David L.
Johns and in the fall of 1837 he launched the Marshall Republican,
advocating the principles of the Whig party. The Republican lasted
until after the campaign of 1838, and then passed quietly away. The
next applicant for public favor in the newspaper world was the West-
ern Statesman, which appeared Sept. 12, 1839, with Seth Lewis as
editor and publisher. The paper continued as the W

Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 74)